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Animals in the Evacuation Zone

May 2, 2011

The following email from Hiroko Takagi to Sumi Hasegawa was translated by Daigo Shima.  

Sent: Saturday, April 23, 2011 11:33 AM
To: Sumi Hasegawa, Mrs.
Subject: Animals in Nuclear Evacuation Zone

Dear Sumi,

Finally this morning, NHK Internet News covered the issue of farm animals within the caution zone (the 20-kilometer irradiated zone). http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20110423/t10015502001000.html

The Japanese government has commented about how they will deal with farm animals within the planned evacuation zone (outside the 20-kilometer irradiated zone), but they have not mentioned anything about the animals, who are left behind in the caution zone and starving to death now. There has been no criticism of the government in media reports. The only information sources are the websites and blogs of independent journalists, animal protection groups, freelance photographer, and animal doctors.

Via the webpage of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, I gave questions and opinions to the MAFF, but I have not received any answers yet. https://www.contact.maff.go.jp/voice/sogo.html

So I gave questions to Mr. Harada, who works for the section of livestock industry of the MAFF, via his personal Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/hideoharada. In the following exchanges of our opinions, Mr. Harada expressed his personal views, and they are not official views of the MAFF.
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Me: If you look through the figures of the amount of radiation, it is obvious that there are a lot of areas in the caution zone whose radiation dose is clearly lower than that of the planned evacuation zone. I cannot help wondering why the MAFF does not do anything to the farm animals within the caution zone, just ‘because they are in the caution zone.’ Has anyone in the MAFF voiced a similar opinion?

Mr. Harada: I think this is a controversial issue, but what matters here is that the caution zone is set up according to the criterion.

Me: Could you please clarify what you meant by “the caution zone is set up according to…”?

Mr. Harada: The caution zone is set up not only because the situation of the nuclear power station is unstable, but also because the amount of radiation is high on the whole. A date shows that the figures vary in a patchy fashion now, but this cannot guarantee that the figures will stay low when we actually go inside the caution zone and deal with farm animals there.

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To sum up, it seems that the MAFF currently does not have any plan to work on this issue.

The press rarely covers horses, because it is difficult to classify them into either farm animals or pets. According to the Hisaiba (disaster-affected horses) Info (http://rha.or.jp/hisaiba-info/), the group which rescues the horses in the affected areas, more than 20 horses are left behind within the caution zone.

Some of the animal guardians, animal protection groups, and animal doctors entered the caution zone to feed the left-behind animals (farm animals, horses, and pets) until midnight of the 22nd, but for now, they can no longer do that. The Ministry of the Environment has announced that they are considering rescuing the pets left behind in the caution zone, but I highly doubt if the MOE can actually rescue them soon. The MOE seems not to understand at all the current situation in which no living creatures can survive if they stay in the caution zone just for one or two days. The government also says that the residents of the caution zone will be gradually going back home for the next one month, but what they will see there is a living hell.

A lot of people have been asking government agencies for permission to enter the caution zone for those who will take care of and rescue the animals there, but I have not heard about any positive reactions. Some people say that it is not the government agencies but the heads of each city, town and village in the caution zone who can give the permission of entering there, so I am going to send them e-mails.

Also, here is the cat blog I have been regularly reading before the earthquake. The writer of the blog reported his experiences of taking care of the left-behind animals. Please read through it when you have time. http://ameblo.jp/uchino-toramaru/

I am not sure how effective it is, but here are the web sites in which you can sign petitions from any place in the world.

“Please Allow Animal Rescue in Japan’s Nuclear Evacuation Zone”
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/26/save-animals-in-Japan-evacuation-zone/

“Tell the Japanese Government that the cruel act of starving animals must finally be made illegal”
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/24/Make-animal-starvation-illegal-in-Japan/

Because Japanese mass media, Tokyo Electric Power Company, and the government are in collusion with each other, neither TV nor newspapers talk about inconvenient truth. The Internet is the only site in which we can talk about the truths, and we can express anger and opinions mainly via blogs and Twitter. Therefore, those who cannot access to the Internet know nothing about the current situation.

I will be continuously gathering information and appealing to the institutions concerned.

I do appreciate your continued help.

Hiroko

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